When The Devil Wears Prada announced the release of ‘Dead Throne’, it was also stated that they would be heading for darker, dirtier places (both musically and emotionally) to create a bone crushingly heavy album. For any band, even one of their stature and reputation, that is a bold statement. In relation to this, you can feel the anticipation and the heat being turned up as the album thunders into life with the marching drum intro of the title track. Whether it be good or bad, something big is about to happen.
When something finally does happen, it’s somewhat of a letdown as the opening riff to ‘Dead Throne’ sounds nothing more than a down tuned version of anything they’ve written before. Whilst it’s clear from this opening track that a lot of the pretentiousness and the shiny edges have been shaved from their sound, at heart they are still and always will be a generic metalcore band. It takes until the appropriately titled ‘Mammoth’ for things to really kick off, with its muted palm riff and big chorus, and unfortunately enough for TDWP and listener alike the formula is the same throughout. Whilst it may be enjoyable a few times on better tracks like ‘Constance’ it quickly becomes dull, repetitive and very tiresome.
Fans looking for dark, dirty riffs need look any further than songs like ‘My Questions’, which have enough dirty bass drops to please even the most perverse minds. If you are a fan of mindless, mind numbing breakdowns then this is the place for you. However, in one area that ‘Dead Throne’ does excel is in its more frequent use of dual vocals that is often lacking from TDWP‘s music. Guitarist Jeremy DePoyster has an amazing voice, and it comes as a relief that the band have finally realised it. Whilst much has been said about Mike Hranica‘s vocals, it must be said that they are almost flawless on the album, a shame really.
For an album that has so much potential, ‘Dead Throne’ is the sound of a band that is trying to push the limits of their sound to hell and back. It’s also the sound of a band failing in the process. Whilst there’s no denying the fact that ‘Dead Throne’ is heavier than a lead brick, it should be said that in order to achieve these new realms of heavy and expand their sound (and the genre as a whole), you do not need to stick rigidly to the formula in place. I mean, surely that defies the point of expansion. It can be done, bands like August Burns Red and Bring Me The Horizon are good examples of it, however, unfortunately on ‘Dead Throne’, The Devil Wears Prada have fallen a little short of the not so high bar.
Written by Oliver Thompson